Gap year: ultimate listings guide

 

Not sure what to do on your gap year? Check out our listings guide for inspiration.

Adventure Alternative

Live in a model green village in the Himalayas, trek to the base camp of Mount Everest or work with street children in Kenya for four weeks to three months.
Cost: £650-£1,850 (excl. flights)
Contact: 02870 831 258; www.adventurealternative.com

African Conservation Experience

Rehabilitate game animals or help with their capture and tagging in South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe. Trips last from two weeks to three months.
Cost: £1,790-£6,790 (flights, food and accommodation included)
Contact: 01454 269182; www.conservationafrica.net

Africa Impact

Choose from sports development projects in Zambia, wildlife photography in South Africa or hands on lion conservation in Zimbabwe for one month to six weeks.
Cost: £660-£2,195
Contact: 0800 098 8440; www.africanimpact.com

BUNAC

Volunteering placements include everything from teaching in China and sports coaching in South Africa and construction in Nepal. Also offers paid work placements in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and America.
Cost: £254-£2,095
Contact: 020 7553 6180; www.bunac.org/uk

Bruce Organisation

Volunteer as a teaching assistant in a shanty school classroom in Trujillo, Peru. Also take dental electives and veterinarians. Other projects include community development, poverty eradication and helping abandoned pregnant teens. Minimum stay one month.
Cost: £310 per month (inc. accommodation)
Contact: volunteersbruce@gmail.com; www.bruceperu.org

Camphill Communities

Join communities for disabled children and adults all over the world and help out with therapy support, workshops and recreational activities.
Cost: No fee
Contact individual community; www.camphill.org.uk

Camp America

Spend your summer in the USA working as a camp counsellor for a drama camp or a special needs camp or perhaps even a holiday resort. Pocket money is provided.
Cost: £575
Contact: 020 7581 7373; www.campamerica.co.uk

Changing Worlds

You can help out on a stud farm in New Zealand, work with premature babies in Argentina, be a radio DJ in Honduras or do a journalism placement in India, to name a few of the projects on offer.
Cost: £1,395-£3,320 (excl. flights)
Contact: 01883 340 960; www.changingworlds.co.uk

Community Service Volunteers (CSV)

Reduce your carbon footprint by staying in the UK to volunteer. Work in refugee programmes, in homeless shelters and young offenders institutions or care for disabled students.
Cost: Free accommodation and food, with weekly allowance
Contact: 020 7278 6601; www.csv.org.uk

Dakar Challenge

If you want to really get off the beaten track then why not drive from the UK to Banjul, Dakhla or Timbuktu. Takes three weeks and your vehicle must cost less than £100.
Cost: £150-£375 to enter
Contact: 01392 881748; www.dakarchallenge.co.uk

Explore

Take a voyage to Antarctica, discover Buddhism in Tibet, cycle around Cuba, traverse China's Silk Road, learn bush skills in a Zulu village in South Africa and much much more. Trips last up to a month.
Cost: £442-£14,134
Contact: 0845 291 4542; www.explore.co.uk

Florence Institute

Spend a year living in Florence studying interior design, graphic design or architecture (in English). Four-week summer courses are available.
Cost: £949-£4,839
Contact: 0039 055 23 02481; www.florence-institute.com

Gadventures

Explore northern hilltribes and villages in Banghok, visit India's temples and safaris or experience South East Asia on a shoestring. Trips to suit all budgets from four days to a month.
Cost: £349-£3,499
Contact: 0844 272 2060; www.gadventures.com

Gap 360

Whether you fancy a Fijan fling, hopping over to Oz, or rocking up to the Rockies, this website caters for all. Learn to scuba dive in Thailand, work as an au pair in America help out in a monkey sanctuary in South Africa. Experiences from six days to a year.
Cost: £259-£8,479
Contact: 01892 527392; www.gap360.com

Gap Guru

Care for orphans in Africa, work on a medical internship in India or enjoy adventure travels in the Himalayas.
Cost: £546-£1,530
Contact: 01635 45556; www.gapguru.com

GapYear.com

A website providing useful information and advice for the prospective gap year student. Talk to gappers who have been away with a certain company or get advice on whether or not to stay with a host family.
Contact: 0845 3447667; www.gapyear.com

Global Volunteer Network

Promote awareness of Global warming and climate change in New Zealand or care for abused animals in Thailand. Many more placements available, lasting two weeks to six months.
Cost: £275-£3,870
Contact: 0800 0325035; www.globalvolunteernetwork.org

i-to-i

Hand rear lion cubs in an animal reserve in South Africa, get up-close to pandas in the Chinese wilderness or teach disadvantaged children to surf  in Cape Town.
Cost: £439-£1,407 (excl. flights)
Contact: 01892 883205; www.i-to-i.com

Inspired Breaks

Formerly known as Gap Year for Grown Ups. Learn Spanish in Costa Rica, spend a year travelling the world or run workshops to improve the self-esteem of children in Argentina.
Cost: £309-£3,169
Contact: 08445 734101; www.inspiredbreaks.co.uk

International Voluntary Service

Help with environmental conservation on beaches in Morocco, help at a centre for disabled children in Latvia or work with elderly people in mountain villages in Japan. These projects last from three to 12 months and are continually changing.
Cost: £150
Contact: 0131 243 2745; www.ivsgb.org.uk

Lattitude

Teach English in Argentina, volunteer in a Red Cross hospital in Japan, or work as an outdoor activity instructor in Australia, to name a few of the projects available.
Cost: £3,160-£3,985
Contact: 0118 959 4914; www.lattitude.org.uk

Nabuur.com

Support communities in Africa, Asia and Latin America without leaving your desk. Help youth groups to write funding proposals or help them find much needed equipment such as an overhead projector.
Cost: Free
Contact: www.nabuur.com

Nonstop

Qualify as a ski or snowboard instructor in three to 18 weeks in Canada, New Zealand or France. Also see parent company Nonstop Adventure,  if you want to train to surf or mountain bike.
Contact: 020 7720 6500; www.nonstopsnow.com
Cost: £2,475-£8,950

Projects Abroad

This gap year company offers anything and everything for the adventurous gapper. Work on human rights in Togo or veterinary medicine in India. Placements for two weeks, three months or longer.
Cost: £995-£4,495
Contact: 01903 708300; www.projects-abroad.co.uk

Raleigh International

Join one of the five, seven or 10-week expeditions to Costa Rica & Nicaragua, India, Borneo or Tanzania. Work on sustainable community and environmental projects before undertaking a tough adventure challenge.
Cost: £1,850-£3,150 (excl. flights)
Contact: 020 7183 1270; www.raleighinternational.org

Real Gap

A wide range of gap travel opportunities - from four days to a year, 192 programmes in 44 countries - covering conservation, volunteering, teaching, paid work, expeditions, tours. And even Latin dancing.
Costs : £169-£9,749
Contact: 01892 882891; www.realgap.co.uk

Restless Development

Formerly Student Partnerships Worldwide. Spend three to six months in India, Nepal, Tanzania, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe or USA working on community led projects such as HIV/Aids education and youth empowerment.
Cost: from £800 donation
Contact: 020 7976 8070; www.restlessdevelopment.org

Ripple Africa

If you are training as a teacher, nurse or doctor or are already qualified, then this company offers some very worthwhile projects in Malawi. There are also opportunities for environmental volunteers. Placements from a minimum of three months.
Cost: From £1,320 (excl. accommodation)
Contact: 01525 216346; www.rippleafrica.org

SHAD

Support and Housing Assistance for People with Disabilities. Volunteering opportunities in London. Act as a personal assistant to help people with disabilities in return for free furnished accommodation.
Cost: Free - you receive a £60 subsistence allowance
Contact: 020 8675 6095; www.shad.org.uk

Sport Lived

Want to travel? Enjoy playing sports? Then choose from one of their 10 sports programmes in New Zealand, Australia, Argentina, South Africa and Sri Lanka lasting four weeks to six months.
Cost: £1,295-£6,495
Contact: 0844 858 9103; www.sportlived.co.uk

Travellers Worldwide

Make a difference by working with great white sharks in Mauritius, teach art in Brazil or coach cricket in schools in Argentina. Placements last from a week to a year.
Cost: £575-£7,595
Contact: 01903 502595; www.travellersworldwide.com

VEEP Nepal

Volunteers for Environment and Education Program. Immerse yourself in Nepalese culture by working in an orphanage, teaching English or IT, learning the Nepali language, building smokeless stores or pit latrines, or raising awareness of environmental and health issues. Projects last from 10 days to 10 months.
Cost: from £198 (£55 for each further week) (excl. flights)
Contact: 00 977 01 4565566; www.veepnepal.org.np

Village Education Project (Kilimanjaro)

Immerse yourself in the local Tanzanian community while teaching village children English, maths and IT on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro. You can also help renovate school buildings.
Cost: contact VEPK
Contact: 01732 743000 or project@kiliproject.org; www.kiliproject.org

Volunteer Africa

If you know you want to volunteer in Africa, their website has lots to offer. Work in rural Tanzania for two to 10 weeks. The project for 2012 is the construction of a rainwater harvesting tank in Kinapundu.
Cost: £600-£1,895
Contact: 01629 640980; www.volunteerafrica.org

VSO

Spend three months volunteering in Africa or Asia with the International Citizen Service. Projects include improving water access in Bangladesh, and helping to prevent AIDs in Ethiopia.
Cost: £800 donation
Contact: 020 8780 7500; www.globalxchange.org.uk

WLS International

Discover Asia by teaching English to monks in Thailand, work with street children in Vietnam or help at an orphanage in India. Projects last from one to 24 weeks.
Cost: from £275 (excl. flights)
Contact: 020 3384 7024; www.gapyearinasia.com

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A scene from Aladdin is performed at the Tony Awards in New York in June
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